Comfort during the bed bath-A randomised crossover trial on the effect of washing without water versus water and soap in nursing students

Fabian M.V. Groven*, Sandra M.G. Zwakhalen, Gaby Odekerken-Schröder, Frans Tan, Jan P.H. Hamers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review


Aims and objectives To compare the washing without water method with the water and soap method regarding comfort perceptions of the bed bath.

Background Bathing affects nurses' and care recipients' comfort. Bedridden care recipients can be bathed in bed with water and soap or with washing without water products. Little is known about the differences between these two bed bath methods regarding comfort perceptions among care recipients and nurses.

Design Crossover randomised laboratory-controlled trial, conducted from March 2018-November 2019, according to the CONSORT guidelines.

Methods Nursing students were randomly allocated roles as a patient (who received both types of bed baths) or a nurse (who provided both types of bed baths). Also, the order in which the bed baths were received/provided was randomised. A total of 97 students were included in the analysis. Student patients filled out the Patient Evaluation of Emotional Comfort Experienced (PEECE) scale to measure emotional comfort and a single-item question on physical comfort after each bed bath. Student nurses filled out the Physical Demands scale after each bed bath to measure their physical comfort perceptions.

Results No differences were found between the two bed bathing methods regarding student patients' emotional or physical comfort levels. Among student nurses, the washing without water method was less physically demanding than the water and soap method.

Conclusions Taking into account time-efficiency and physical comfort for nurses, washing without water seems to be a valuable alternative to water and soap from a care recipient comfort perspective, which should be assessed in a clinical setting in future research.

Relevance to clinical practice The washing without water method is less physically demanding for nurses and takes less time. It does not have a detrimental effect on care recipients' emotional and physical comfort. The trial is registered at (ID = NL6787).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2234-2245
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number15-16
Early online date6 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • actor perspective
  • bed bath
  • comfort
  • crossover randomised trial
  • essentials of care
  • multi&#8208
  • nursing education
  • physical demands
  • time effectiveness
  • washing without water
  • water and soap
  • CARE

Cite this